The front and center of the matchup were Harden’s well-chronicled struggles early in the 2021-22 NBA season. The Beard produced yet another iffy performance, which will only raise more questions about his game.
In a report by Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN, James Harden revealed why he has been off to a rocky start. Here’s what he said:
“I had no opportunities to play pickup or nothing this summer. Everything was rehab for three months, from a Grade 2 injury that happened three times in one season. So this is my fifth game of trying to just play with competition against somebody else. As much as I want to rush the process and be back to hooping and killing, [have to] take your time.”
James Harden and the Brooklyn Nets should be fine if the reason for the 32-year-old’s shaky start is the process of getting back into game shape. The hamstring injury he suffered last season is the same injury that has sidelined him at different times in the past. It is very reasonable not to skip steps for him to get back to his deadly form.
Harden’s poor form has only pushed the new rules regarding unnatural shooting motion into the limelight. From being one of the most prolific free-throw shooters the league has ever seen, The Beard is hardly even getting to the free-throw line.
James Harden’s rocky start and the absence of Kyrie Irving have forced Kevin Durant to carry a much heavier workload this early in the season. Despite Durant playing at an MVP level, the Brooklyn Nets are just 2-3 and have lost by an average of 17.3 points.
The Nets should find more help for Kevin Durant or else the grind of the NBA, without two of his sidekicks, will take a toll on him. And that would be a price the team will surely regret.
Can Kevin Durant carry the Brooklyn Nets with this version of James Harden?
Kevin Durant has proven that he can rough it up with the best of them. The playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks were evidence of that. He almost dragged a crippled Brooklyn Nets team past the eventual champions.
However, Durant himself has just come back from a serious ACL injury that sidelined him for more than a season. If James Harden continues to play the way he is doing now, KD will be forced to play all out just to keep the Nets above water.
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There’s no telling how much of the grind Kevin Durant can afford to take without James Harden’s scoring brilliance. The worst thing that can happen for the Brooklyn Nets is for KD to suffer an injury while waiting for Harden to rediscover his shooting touch.